Fresno students traveled to Washington, DC in mid June to deliver hundreds of letters from concerned Valley voters to their members of Congress at the National Capitol with the message about the importance of bipartisan climate solutions in the country.
Emily Salazar, Samantha Perez and Rob Jeffers, students at Roosevelt High, Fresno City College and Fresno State, return to the Central Valley with more hope for bringing Republican and Democrat citizens and leaders together to solve a crucial problem.
Salazar, Perez, and Jeffers are volunteers from the Fresno chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and traveled to Washington, D.C., to join more than 1,200 people from every state in the nation to press Congress to enact policies to reduce the heat-trapping pollution that is warming the world.
The three Fresno CCL volunteers attended the 9th annual International Climate Change Conference and Lobby Day in June that included two days of informational sessions and training, as well as going to Capitol Hill on June 12 for meetings with local members of Congress, including Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, David Valadao, R-Hanford and Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
“It is very important that our representatives know that young people who vote are concerned about this issue,” said Perez, 18, a Fresno City College student majoring in Sustainability.
For the past year, Perez has spent many evenings and weekends attending organizational meetings and talking with visitors to her outreach table at community events. Her concern for the environment motivated her to meet with Nunes, who is her representative in Congress.
Salazar, Perez, and Jeffers sought support for a carbon-pricing system known as Carbon Fee and Dividend.
According to CCL, Carbon Fee and Dividend will put a fee on all oil, gas and coal people use in the United States as well as it will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies and Americans will choose cleaner, cheaper energy options. The money from the fee will be returned directly to people as a monthly rebate and most American households will end up with more money in their pockets.
Jeffers, who is majoring in Environmental Science at Fresno State, joined CCL Fresno to apply his knowledge to encourage solutions to climate change.
“I’m pursuing legislative change because the health of the world has become a political controversy, even though it shouldn’t be “ said Jeffers, “and the best way to make change for the better is to meet it on a political level.”
“I cannot ignore the effects of climate change,” said Salazar, 17, an honor student at Roosevelt High School, “but I can help the political will to solve it.”
Salazar is a member of the Grasstops Team of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Fresno that encourages local leaders and organizations - including the San Joaquin City Council and , Community Hospital among other 15 organizations - to endorse the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.
“Here in the Central Valley , we’re feeling the impact of fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases in the form of drought and wildfires that harm agriculture and the snow recreation industry , as well as damaging our air quality,” explained CCL Fresno chapter leader, Connie Young, a retired nurse from Community Hospital.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a national, nonpartisan advocacy organization working to bring Republicans and Democrats together on market-based solutions to climate change. The group has been the primary catalyst for the formation and growth of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, which now has 78 members, 39 Republicans and 39 Democrats.